Annddd… suddenly it had been two months since I blogged. I’d apologize, but… for what? December was busy with two fun clinics at the beginning of the month, then I left for Christmas. January was low key, but ramping back up and then two weekends ago I came off and tore my ACL and lateral meniscus.
Cue rewind. We had a Sunday morning gridwork lesson planned and setup – I hadn’t jumped in a few weeks, but Archie has become pretty damn reliable and we were keeping things small so I wasn’t worried. We warmed up and he felt awesome – forward, but adjustable, tuned in and fun. Into our warmup we added the grid through the middle as ground poles – pole, one stride, pole, one stride, pole. Trotted in, no problem, added in cantering through without issues. We went to canter through and turn right (still ground poles), I made a bad turn and to keep us from falling, Archie kinda.. zigged to the right away from the wall and I zagged left. I just got tossed slightly forward, but it resulted in me essentially “dismounting” at the canter – my right leg swung behind and over and I was literally giggling in midair thinking I was going to “stick” my landing. And then I felt my knee pop.
I’d dismounted in air alright… but my left foot stayed firmly heel down, planted into my stirrup. Meaning the rest of my body twisted to the right and my foot stayed straight. I came free and didn’t get drug or anything, but the damage was done by the time I hit the ground a split second later. Archie pretty much just stood there like “WTF MOM Y U DOWN THERE,” but I was alternating yelling/cursing and trying not to throw up or pass out. The adrenaline hit hard there and I got wildly hot and then crazy cold and was pretty much a mess for a few minutes. Once the initial hit wore off, I was able to look down and see my kneecap was… not located where it was supposed to be and I knew I was going to the ER. I had someone grab my phone while they went to put Archie away and get a vehicle to get me out of the arena (luckily I was in our softest footing – the actual impact didn’t so much as leave a bruise!) and started calling the doctors I work with. My poor lesson partner, this was the first time we’d met, and here I was laying with my leg at a strange angle, unable to move, calling people. Talking to a few of my docs, we picked where I was going and my trainer and friend helped get me into her car.
By some miracle, I ended up only in the ER for a few hours total (largely because I, um, relocated my own kneecap while on the ground), but it was clear I needed a specialist referral that week. Monday, I saw a great sports medicine doctor here and by Tuesday night had an MRI. The results showed I had deep bone bruising, effusion, a torn ACL and a torn lateral meniscus – all signs that meant I was going to have to have surgery.
From there, I’ve started PT (or “prehab”) to get my leg as strong as possible before surgery and we’re tentatively scheduling surgery for late February. Post-surgery, I’m looking at 4-5 months to be back on a horse so I have a great barn friend who is essentially “leasing” Archie for the year (also spoiling him rotten).
It’s been supremely shitty to accept I’m losing an entire spring (my favorite time of year to ride) and most of summer – and more than likely, my entire show season. I know it’s important not to rush rehab or healing, but acceptance doesn’t take the sting away. I have a great barn family I know will welcome me to watch all the lessons and clinics I want, but damn it still sucks.
That’s where things stand for now. I’ll continue to know more in the coming weeks I’m sure, but I already know it’s a recovery I’m not looking forward to. Hopefully with PT and all the free time I’ll have, I’ll be able to come back stronger than I was before the fall, but I’m sure my ‘sea legs’ will take some time to get back too. I’m hoping to plan some kind of fun Aiken/Ocala trip for early 2023 as motivation and a reward to myself, so until then I’ll just be living the owner life and living vicariously through friends.